Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Creative Process

Hello All,
I   hope life is treating you well.  No complaints here.  Most of my time has been spent plugging away at my novel.  So far I've written 4000 words this week.  A welcome change from last month when I found myself suffering through a bout of writer's block.   I'm not sure if you've experienced this phonemona, but it is excruciating. Many a day my computer sat accusingly on my desk while I played with my new iphone, chatted on Litopia, excercised, and floated from one writing blog to the next.  When I did muster the courage to actually write a sentence, I found myself pressing the delete key as soon as the words flashed across the screen.

Finally I sat down and asked "Where do I want this chapter to go?"  Short and long of it... I'd plotted myself into a corner and I did not know how to get out.   All roads led to the prophecy in my story and I didn't think I was developing it enough.  Determined to get through my block, I conducted more research on the topic I was stuck on.  A few googles later, I found the answers I was looking for and the next time I went to write, the words flowed naturally onto the page.  

This experience caused me to ponder the creative process in its entirety.  Since no two people are alike, I'm sure it varies from one author to the next, but I tend to map the begining, middle and end of my book before I start to write.  However,  I do not pre-plan the route to get to my destination.  Some days I take a scenic road, while others are straight interstate all the way. Of course, the downside to this approach is sometimes the driver runs across a few road blocks that could have been avoided if he or she would have mapped the journey.  The upside is, sometimes the road blocks lead you down a path that brings new and exciting experiences to the trip.  

I also edit at the end of each chapter, which is something industry experts warn against.  It's supposed to stifle the creative process, or something like that.  For example, Stephen King writes his book  in a matter of weeks.  Then he sticks it in a drawer and does not look at it again for several months.  When he finally blows the dust off his MS,  King starts the editing process.  This would drive me crazy.  If I had a big unedited mess waiting for me, I would feel overwhelmed and my MS would probably wind up in the trash.

Setting aside cliche sayings like "you say tomatoe and I say tamatoe" In the end I've discovered that each writer's creative process is unique to the individual.  There is no right or wrong way to create, do what works for you.

I'd be interested to know how your creative process works.  Do you outline, or are you a "seat of the pants" writer?  Do you edit as you go or do you write the entire MS first then edit?  I look forward to your feedback.

Until next time happy writing